The Marine Debris Act

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is authorized by Congress to work on marine debris through the Marine Debris Act, signed into law in 2006 and amended in 2012 and 2018. The Act requires the program to “identify, determine sources of, assess, prevent, reduce, and remove marine debris and address the adverse impacts of marine debris on the economy of the United States, marine environment, and navigation safety.”

In October 2018, the President signed the “Save our Seas Act of 2018” (Public Law No: 115-265). This law amends and reauthorizes the Marine Debris Act for four years, promotes international action to reduce marine debris in our ocean, authorizes cleanup and response actions needed as a result of severe marine debris events, such as hurricanes or tsunamis, and updates the membership of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee. Additionally, the Act authorizes and requires NOAA to work with other Federal agencies to develop additional outreach and education strategies to address sources of marine debris.